16 Tips for Clean Slide Presentations

By Tim Bedley


One AWFUL slide!

One AWFUL slide!

 

I have been assigning slide presentations to my elementary students for many years. I found myself repeating the same critiques to group after group. Now, I don’t leave “PowerPoint” style to chance. Here are a few of the tips I give my students.

 

 

Text Tips

  1. Use VERY small amount of text. A few words that give the main idea for each slide is good. The big NO-NO: Reading your slides to your audience.
  2. Choose one font style for the main points and one for the sub-points. Use these styles throughout your entire presentation. This includes font name, color, and size.
  3. Be careful with overlap. Text that is barely touching a photo is awkward. Text that sits right next to the edge of the slide is awkward.
  4. Dark text on light background or light text on dark background. Contrast! Make it POP!
  5. No bullet points. Duplicate your slides and put your sub-points on separate slides.

Graphics Tips

  1. Try to fill your slide with one large image.
  2. Faces are better. We all like to see closeups of the human face.
  3. Be careful not to distort your pictures. Grab the photo in the corner, not the edge, to change the size.
  4. Be careful with image size. If you use a small image and resize it to make it large, the image gets very blurry.
  5. Photos are better than clipart. Better yet, make your own pictures by taking photos or drawing pictures.
  6. Cite your source. Always give credit for the images you use.

Overall Design Tips

  1. Avoid using templates. They are cheesy and show little creativity.
  2. Avoid slide transitions. You want your audience focused on the slides, not the switching between slides. NO transition is wonderful!
  3. Simple! Keep your slides clutter free. A nice big clear picture with 3 words to focus the audience is great!
  4. Avoid creating a “The End” slide. If you have a conclusion, great. Otherwise, just make a main topic slide as your last slide. Don’t make a slide that says, “Thanks for watching,” or something similar.
  5. Advanced Tip: Use the rule of thirds. Draw a tic-tac-toe board on your slide. Place items where the lines cross. It’s a bit more complicated than this, but the main thing: try to avoid centering things on the slide.

Note: These tips definitely limit creativity, but my purpose is to teach my students to first create a good clean slide show. Once that is accomplished, then I encourage the students to break the rules…with purpose. It’s similar to learning a new instrument. We first need to learn our scales and copy the masters. Later, we develop our own style and can artfully break the rules.

Screencast Instructional Video: 12 PowerPoint Tips for Kids

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